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In Response to ‘Does the Bible Teach the Divinity of Christ?’

In Response to ‘Does the Bible Teach the Divinity of Christ?’

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Published by M.Usman Shahid
What follows is a reply to an article hosted at “God Omnipotent” entitled ‘Does the Bible Teach the Divinity of Christ’ written in response to my article wherein I attempted to provide ‘Decisive Biblical Evidence Against Christ’s Divinity’...
What follows is a reply to an article hosted at “God Omnipotent” entitled ‘Does the Bible Teach the Divinity of Christ’ written in response to my article wherein I attempted to provide ‘Decisive Biblical Evidence Against Christ’s Divinity’...

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In Response to ‘Does the Bible Teach the Divinity of Christ?


Have we not all one Father? Did not one God create us? [Malachi, 2:10] What follows is in reply to an article hosted at “God Omnipotent” entitled ‘Does the Bible Teach the Divinity of Christ’1 written in response to my article wherein I attempted to provide ‘Decisive Biblical Evidence Against Christ’s Divinity’2. To grasp proper comprehension of our discussion, honorable readers are advised to re-read in full my initial post then what is posted by “God Omnipotent” before arriving at any premature conclusions that might proceed from considering just one preferred point of view. Before I formally begin my response to his post I must confess to and commend the respected writer’s eloquence in speech in that he well-wrought arguments to ideas he confesses, and also his earnestness in calling to the way of the Lord, be it little variant than mine. We must always keep reminding ourselves that it is not accuracy God demands of us, it is earnest effort, and I hope and pray God, Who sees our hearts, will find therein rewardable righteous intentions and miss out those mistakes that are inevitable cause of it’s weakness. The Qur’an, which I profess as the last of God’s revealed Scriptures, invites people to hold fast things we enjoy of mutual concent and I appreciate we have arrived at sort of commonality, that is your submittal to the fact there exists ‘one set of evidence’ in the Gospels showing Christ Jesus[p]3 to be exclusively human in nature, but then you present another set which you purport is the New Testament’s main theme; the
http://godomnipotent.wordpress.com/2011/06/17/does-the-bible-teach-the-divinity-of-christ http://6sman.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/decisive-biblical-evidence-against-christs-divinity. pdf 3 The abbreviation [p] stands for ‘Peace and blessings of God be on him’.
2 1

ascertainment of Christ’s Divinity, and as such it would seem to suggest there exists internal in-consistency within the New Testament and the Bible as a whole. The reader would’ve noticed larger amount of quotations presented in favor of Christ’s[p] Divinity are not really his. These are extra-Injilic statements like those of St.Paul (who by no means was a full-blooded Trinitarian [See: 1Corinthians, 8:6]), or some anonymous NT writers, even John’s prologue wasn’t his own but was part of the Gospels later redaction4. Notwithstanding, even if their authenticity be granted; all these statements can easily and evidently be interpreted otherwise towards comparatively more harmonized theme with the Old Testament which incidently carries not shred of evidence for the Trinity concept, one simply has to presume it’s veracity in order to locate ‘suitable’ citations. Did I really miss out on ‘everything else’ the Gospels and the New Testament has to offer regarding Christ[p]? I believe not, and could answer each verse produced in favor of the Trinity with adequate and credible treble refuting it (as I have done to large extent below). Those simple arguments I put forward have haunted Trinitarian Christianity ever since it’s inception and aren’t just going to vanish that easy, and your responses hereto are less convincing than I thought. Without dwelling in details, I see your main defense against those arguments is the hypostatic unity hypothesis, wherein Jesus[p] is described of possessing both human and Divine (God-man) natures but choosing, for some odd reason, to veil his true identity. To which I ask, why? If God literally visits us (incarnates) in person why then should He hide Himself and make not things clearer when the need to do so is evermore increased? And if he did hide his true identity then how are we to know
4

[See; New American Bible’s Introduction to John’s Gospel]

he’s really God? If you say; because he claimed to be so, then aren’t these words belonging to the same person trying in-efficiently to veil his identity? Moreover, when Jesus[p] was telling us he couldn’t do this and didn’t know that should we not accept his words in their simple connotation as opposed to hiding behind the veil of hypostasis? And if this theory be granted then what tool are we left with in order to determine which statement of Jesus[p] is true in meaning and which is superficial? If statements wherein humanity is emphasized can be taken as allegories, why not adopt a far more safer and rational due course in interpreting those “Divinity claims” as likewise metaphoric? When Jesus[p] says “I and the Father are one” Christians are quick to point toward his Divinity ignoring altogether he was in his human nature, but when he says “my Father is greater than I”, his human part was speaking. If statements wherein Jesus[p] is seen denying his Divinity are waved off as un-real due to human form, those proclaimed ‘Divinity statements’ become even more susceptible to denial. The problem with the veil hypothesis is that Jesus[p], or any else one fancies, remains God however much he may want to deny it! It is in-conceivable, even un-intelligible to think created and un-created, finite and infinite, omniscient but un-aware mind exists, and if Jesus[p] had two different minds then they couldn’t be one same person. Jesus[p] simply could not have been conscious of that other Divine part when he prayed God in all earnestness and worshiped Him with great humility, and offered himself completely at God’s will even at face with horrors of crucifixion. Talking of which, you need explain whether there was one Jesus (God, the Son) who humbled himself of former glory in partaking humanity, or two Jesus’, one seated in heaven as God and the other suffering and dying on earth? Regardless, Jesus is still well and truly alive

with God and they along with the Holy Spirit live happily ever-after. So all the fuss about the great ‘Divine sacrifice’ is hyperbole after all. Your primary argument for Christ’s Divinity revolves around John’s prologue and it’s apparent affirmation of pre-existence for Christ[p]. But to regard the Word as a pre-existing personal entity, in my opinion, would be erroneous on the grounds that John was a Jew and if he did write the prologue we ought read it in it’s Jewish context. It would be woefully wrong of us to ascribe him ideas that were resulted by centuries long speculation into Christ’s nature. The Word (dawbar) in Jewish background is nothing more than that Agency through which God brings things into being. The writer of Wisdom sings praises to God who: “made all things by thy word...” [Wisdom 9:1] In Genesis 1, God said ‘let there Be so and so...’ The Qur’an states that when God wills something He mere says “Be” and it is existent [Al-Qur’an, 2:117, Psalms, 33:6]. Thus Logos can be defined as God’s all-powerful divine impersonal creative command, the expression of God’s mind in speech. The Holy Bible is God’s Word means not to say it pre-existed in any distinction to and personally with God. Some of our oldest English translations of John chapter 1, prior to King James indicate this impersonality when they speak of the word as ‘it’ instead of the modern ‘he’ [Tyndale Bible (1530), Geneva Bible (1560)]. So just as God’s speech in Genesis 1 became physical creation, so also did God’s Word became flesh (Jesus) and dwelt among us. To read John 1:1 as if it said; ‘in the beginning was the Son and the Son was with God...’ is not only a pre-supposition but also very problematic; for in that case we would have to read the verse as follows: ‘... and the Son was with the Father, the Son was the Father...’ and no Christian subscribes to that. The Son, therefore, is not Logos: the Word became the Son, here’s a very acute distinction often misapprehended. In the Qur’an

the Messiah[p] is described as a word of God in a sense of coming into existence, like Adam, purely via God’s command instead of normal reproductive procedure [Al-Qur’an, 3:59]. Moreover, the Word as God’s property cannot be self-existing personally, for in that case, God’s other qualities such as knowledge, sight, hearing, power, and innumerable actions ought also be personal entities as so is in Greek thought under influence of which the Logos formally came to be personified. If you say God’s property (Logos) exists as an entity then we have a plethora of divine entities to deal with, and if you say it doesn’t but insist the person of Jesus[p] is God; then we can only assume the Father it was who became Messiah Himself; since it is not possible for God (the Father) to separate Himself from His qualities, and neither for His attributes to incarnate independently. Jesus[p] thus does not exist personally with God, rather his existence was part of God’s prognosis and destiny, and the same applies to every existent thing before it appears in the tangible world. Hence, Jesus[p] could say of himself “I am before Abraham” in the same breath as Moses, Solomon, Jeremiah, all of whom pre-existed with God before the creation of the heavens and the earth [Psalms, 8:26, Jeremiah, 1:5, Testament of Moses, 1:14] So if we really care for Gospel coherence then we ought read John 1:1-18 in light of previous synoptic Gospels which according to late Raymond Brown, eminent Roman Catholic NT scholar: “show no knowledge of (Jesus’) preexistence; seemingly for them (Luke & Matthew) the conception was the becoming of God’s son.” [The Birth of the Messiah, p.31] Jesus[p] is perfectly harmonized in line of previously sent prophets and messengers of the OT who, despite pre-existing, working miracles including bringing the dead to life, being worshiped and called gods, were complete mortal beings. Contrastingly, disturbance to Biblical coherence is caused when we elevate the son of man[p] to some alien cosmic figure more suited to pagan mythologies than God breathed

Scripture. I know it sounds harsh but let’s face it, adding Jesus[p] to Godhead would tarnish the Bibles’s basic message of God’s un-shared unity and introduce a duality Scripture never condones. I belive such a tenet, despite Christian resistance, leans toward polytheism and stands as un-necessary hurdle between Jewish, Christian, Muslim unanimity. Jesus[p], the Qur’an recalls, never advised self-adoration [Al-Qur’an, 5: 72] but called for firmness of faith in the Jewish creed of a uni-personal Godhead as expressed in the holy Shema [Mark, 12:29-30] and of course Jesus[p] himself was fully Jew. He identified un-equivocally, in no uncertain terms that Monotheism is to recognize the Father as “the only (true) God” [John, 5:44, 17:3, 20:17, Malachi, 2:10], he explicitly described himself as ‘man’ in distinction to God (the Father) [John, 8: 40]. The fact of Jesus’[p] immediate disciples show no conscious recognition of Trinitarianism should be enough to settle the issue. Here I trace a prayer they offered up to God under trials and persecution: “Sovereign Lord, who didst make the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, who by the mouth of our father David, thy servant, didst say by the Holy Spirit, 'Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples imagine vain things? The kings of the earth set themselves in array, and the rulers were gathered together, against the Lord and against his Anointed' -- for truly in this city there were gathered together against thy holy servant Jesus, whom thou didst anoint, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever thy hand and thy plan had predestined to take place. And now, Lord, look upon their threats, and grant to thy servants to speak thy word with all boldness, while thou stretchest out thy hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of thy holy servant Jesus” [Acts, 4:24-30]. Though this Monotheistic side of Christian has often been suppressed and even persecuted, it still manages very much to live on thanks in particular to the Glorious Qur’an. I’d like trinitarian readers also to at least give Unitarianism (belief of the Father

as the only God) a proper consideration it deserves. In fact, number of Christian unitarians is ever-growing and believers are coming to recognize how hard it is to maintain faith in their inherited doctrine. There’s a book I recently read by Prof. Anthony Buzzard of Atlanta Bible College, in company with Charles Hunting, describing the doctrine of the Trinity as Christianity’s “self-inflicted wound”; wherein the authors go great length in showing weaknesses the Trinity doctrine entails, how it became part of orthodoxy, and the only tenable creed is that of Jesus[p], the Jew id est Unitarianism. I’d encourage everyone to read it; take a step beyond and consider the other side, it’s most certainly worth it (I have the book for those interested). Lastly, let me say that as much as it is your’s the Bible is mine and I’d never even attempt to misuse God’s Scripture for self-fancy, for invariably my aim is to access it’s intended meaning and historicity of it’s content, and the further I arrive the more vindicated are beliefs I profess. My apologies for making the reply over-lengthy, but issues raised are such that deserve deeper elaboration. Do pardon me if some of my words seemed discourteous, for my aim was never to attack anyone’s faith, it’s just that debates of this nature more often than not lead to overstatement and in doing so harsh words are oft-uttered, and for that reason I dislike indulging argumentation that have so frequently been detrimental to Christian-Muslim relations and I do hope that our’s for a change will be constructive in realization of the fact that no matter what are differences, one common link will always keep us firmly bonded and that is; our mutual faith and reverence for Christ Jesus[p]. Thank you for reading patiently, Shalom!

In Response to ‘Does the Bible Teach the Divinity of Christ?’
Have we not all one Father? Did not one God create us? [Malachi, 2:10] What follows is a reply to an article hosted at “God Omnipotent” entitled ‘Does the Bible Teach the Divinity of Christ’1 written in response to my article wherein I attempted to provide ‘Decisive Biblical Evidence Against Christ’s Divinity’2. To grasp proper comprehension of our discussion, honorable readers are advised to re-read in full my initial post then what is posted by “God Omnipotent” before arriving at any premature conclusions that might proceed from considering just one preferred point of view. Before I formally begin my response to his post I must confess to and commend the respected writer’s eloquence in speech in that he well-wrought arguments to ideas he confesses, and also his earnestness in calling to the way of the Lord, be it little variant than mine. We must always keep reminding ourselves that it is not accuracy God demands of us, it is earnest effort, and I hope and pray God, Who sees our hearts, will find therein rewardable righteous intentions and miss out those mistakes that are inevitable cause of it’s weakness. The Qur’an, which I profess as the last of God’s revealed Scriptures, invites people to hold fast things we enjoy of mutual concent and I appreciate we have arrived at sort of commonality, that is your submittal to the fact there exists ‘one set of evidence’ in the Gospels showing Christ Jesus[p]3 to be exclusively human in nature, but then you present another set which you purport is the New Testament’s main theme; the
http://godomnipotent.wordpress.com/2011/06/17/does-the-bible-teach-the-divinity-of-christ http://6sman.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/decisive-biblical-evidence-against-christs-divinity. pdf 3 The abbreviation [p] stands for ‘Peace and blessings of God be on him’.
2 1

ascertainment of Christ’s Divinity, and as such it would seem to suggest there exists internal in-consistency within the New Testament and the Bible as a whole. The reader would’ve noticed larger amount of quotations presented in favor of Christ’s[p] Divinity are not really his. These are extra-Injilic statements like those of St.Paul (who by no means was a full-blooded Trinitarian [See: 1Corinthians, 8:6]), or some anonymous NT writers, even John’s prologue wasn’t his own but was part of the Gospels later redaction4. Notwithstanding, even if their authenticity be granted (and I have no problem against it); all these statements can easily and evidently be interpreted otherwise towards comparatively more harmonized theme with the Old Testament which incidently carries not shred of evidence for the Trinity concept, one simply has to presume it’s veracity in order to locate ‘suitable’ citations. On the other side, did I miss out on ‘everything else’ the Gospels and the New Testament has to offer regarding Christ[p]? I believe not, and could answer each verse produced in favor of the Trinity with adequate and credible treble refuting it (as I have done to some extent below). Those simple arguments I put forward have haunted Trinitarian Christianity ever since it’s inception and aren’t just going to vanish that easy, and your responses hereto are less convincing than I thought. Without dwelling in details, I see your main defense against my arguments is the hypostatic unity hypothesis, wherein Jesus[p] is described of possessing both human and Divine (God-man) natures but choosing, for some odd reason, to veil his true identity. I did in my essay offer reservations why such an idea raises more problems than it solves and was quite surprised when you failed in re-producing and bringing to front tenable explanation against those objections. Here, let me simply ask; if God
4

[See; New American Bible’s Introduction to John’s Gospel]

literally visits us (incarnates) in person why then should He hide Himself and make not things clearer when the need to do so is evermore increased? And if he did hide his true identity then how are we to know if Jesus[p] is really God? If you say; because he claimed to be so, then aren’ t these words belonging to the same person trying in-efficiently to veil his identity? Moreover, when Jesus[p] was telling us he couldn’t do this and didn’t know that should we not accept his words in their simple connotation as opposed to hiding behind the veil of hypostasis? And if this theory be granted then what tool are we left with in order to determine which statement of Jesus[p] is true in meaning and which is superficial? If statements wherein humanity is emphasized can be taken as allegories, why not adopt a far more safer and rational due course in interpreting those “Divinity claims” as similarly metaphoric? When Jesus[p] says “I and the Father are one” Christians are quick to point toward his Divinity ignoring altogether he was in his human nature, but when he says “my Father is greater than I”, we are reminded his human part was speaking. If statements wherein Jesus[p] is seen denying his Divinity are waved off as un-real due to human form, those proclaimed ‘Divinity statements’ become even more susceptible to denial. The main problem with the veil hypothesis is that Jesus[p], or any else one fancies, remains God however much he may wish to deny! It is in-conceivable, even un-intelligible to think that a created and uncreated, finite and infinite, omniscient but un-aware mind exists, and if Jesus[p] had two different minds then they couldn’t be one and the same person. Jesus[p] simply could not have been conscious of that other Divine part when he prayed God in all earnestness and worshiped Him with great humility, Jesus[p] was servitude personified and example extraordinaire, he offered himself completely at God’s will even at face

with horrors of crucifixion. Talking of which, you need explain whether there was one Jesus (God, the Son) who humbled himself of (gave up) former glory in partaking humanity, or two Jesus’, one seated in heaven as God and the other suffering and dying on earth? Regardless, Jesus is still well and truly alive with God and they along with the Holy Spirit live happily ever-after. So all the fuss about the great ‘Divine sacrifice’ is hyperbolic after all. Your primary argument for Christ’s Divinity revolves around John’s prologue and it’s apparent affirmation of pre-existence for Christ[p]. But to regard the Word as a pre-existing personal entity, in my opinion, would be erroneous on grounds that John was a Jew and if he did write the prologue we ought read it in it’s Jewish context. It would be woefully wrong of us to ascribe him ideas that were resulted by centuries long speculation into Christ’s nature. The word (dawbar) in Jewish background is nothing more than that Agency through which God brings things into being. The writer of Wisdom sings praises to God who, “made all things...” he says “...by thy word...” [Wisdom 9:1] In Genesis 1, God said ‘let there Be so and so...’ The Qur’an states that when God wills something He mere says “Be” and it is existent [Al-Qur’an, 2:117, Psalms, 33:6]. Thus Logos can be defined as God’s all-powerful divine impersonal creative command, the expression of God’s mind in speech. The Holy Bible is God’s Word means not to say it pre-existed in any distinction to and personally with God. And indeed, some of our oldest English translations of John chapter 1, prior to King James indicate impersonality when they speak of the word as ‘it’ instead of the modern ‘he’ [See; Tyndale Bible (1530), Geneva Bible (1560)]. So just as God’s speech in Genesis became physical creation, so also did God’s Word become flesh (Jesus) and dwelt among us.

To read John 1:1 as if it said; ‘in the beginning was the Son and the Son was with God...’ is not only a pre-supposition but also very problematic; for in that case; we would have to read the verse as follows: ‘... and the Son was with the Father, the Son was the Father...’ and no Christian subscribes to that. The Son, as explained, is not Logos: the Word (it is that) became the Son, here’s a very acute distinction often misapprehended. In the Qur’an the Messiah[p] is described as a word of God in a sense of coming into existence, like Adam, purely via God’s command instead of normal reproductive procedure [Al-Qur’an, 3:59]. Moreover, the word as God’s property cannot be self-existing personally, for in that case God’s other qualities such as knowledge, sight, hearing, power, and innumerable actions ought also be existent in person as so is in Greek thought under influence of which the Logos formally came to be personified. If you say God’s property (Logos) exists as an entity then we have a plethora of divine entities to deal with, and if you say it doesn’t but insist the person of Jesus[p] is God; then we can, at best, assume the Father it was who became the Messiah; since it is not possible for God (the Father) to separate Himself from His qualities, and neither for His attributes to incarnate independently. Jesus[p] thus does not exist personally with God, rather his existence was part of God’s prognosis and destiny, and the same applies to every existent thing before it appears in the tangible world. Hence, Jesus[p] could say of himself “I am before Abraham” in the same breath as Moses, Solomon, Jeremiah, all of whom pre-existed with God before the creation of the heavens and the earth [Psalms, 8:26, Jeremiah, 1:5, Testament of Moses, 1:14] And if we really care for Gospel coherence then we ought read John 1:1-18 in light of previous synoptic Gospels which according to late Raymond Brown, eminent Roman Catholic NT scholar: “show no knowledge of (Jesus’) preexistence; seemingly for them (Luke & Matthew) the conception was the becoming of God’s son.” [The Birth of the Messiah, p.31]

Jesus[p] is perfectly harmonized in line of previously sent prophets and messengers of the OT who, despite pre-existing, working miracles including bringing the dead to life, being worshiped and called gods, were complete mortal beings. Contrastingly, disturbance to Biblical coherence is caused when we elevate the son of man[p] to some alien cosmic figure more suited to pagan mythologies than God breathed Scripture. I know it sounds harsh but let’s face it; adding Jesus[p] to Godhead would tarnish the Bibles’s basic message of God’s un-shared unity and introduce a duality Scripture never condones. I belive such a tenet, despite Christian resistance, leans toward polytheism and stands as un-necessary hurdle between Jewish, Christian, Muslim unanimity. Jesus[p], the Qur’an recalls, never advised self-adoration [Al-Qur’an, 5: 72] but called for firmness of faith in the Jewish creed of a uni-personal Godhead as expressed in the holy Shema [Mark, 12:29-30] and of course Jesus[p] himself was fully Jew. He identified un-equivocally, in no uncertain terms that Monotheism is to recognize the Father as “the only (true) God” [John, 5:44, 17:3, 20:17], he explicitly described himself as ‘man’ in distinction to God (the Father) [John, 8:40]. The fact of Jesus’ [p] immediate disciples show no conscious recognition of Trinitarianism should be enough to settle the issue. Here I trace a prayer they offered up to God under trials and persecution: “Sovereign Lord, who didst make the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, who by the mouth of our father David, thy servant, didst say by the Holy Spirit, 'Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples imagine vain things? The kings of the earth set themselves in array, and the rulers were gathered together, against the Lord and against his Anointed' -- for truly in this city there were gathered together against thy holy servant Jesus, whom thou didst anoint, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever thy hand and thy plan had predestined to take place. And now, Lord, look upon their threats, and grant to thy servants to speak thy word with all boldness,

while thou stretchest out thy hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of thy holy servant Jesus” [Acts, 4:24-30]. Though ever since Christianity fell into Constantine’s hands, it’s Monotheistic side has always been suppressed and even persecuted, yet it still manages very much to live on thanks in particular to the Glorious Qur’an which identifies and calls toward a more believable Jesus[p] put in his historic Jewish context. I’d like Trinitarian readers also to at least give Unitarianism (belief of the Father as the only God) proper consideration it deserves. Indeed, the number of Christian unitarians is ever-increasing and Trinity believers are coming to recognize how hard it is to maintain faith in their inherited doctrine. There’s a book I recently read by Prof. Anthony Buzzard of Atlanta Bible College, in company with Charles Hunting, describing the doctrine of the Trinity as Christianity’s “self-inflicted wound”; wherein the authors go great length in showing weaknesses the Trinity doctrine entails, how it became part of orthodoxy, and ascertain the only tenable creed is that of Jesus[p], the Jew id est Unitarianism. I’d encourage everyone to read it; take a step beyond and consider the other side, it’s most certainly worth it (I have the book for those interested). Lastly, let me say that as much as it is your’s the Bible is mine and I’d never even attempt to misuse God’s Scripture for self-fancy, for invariably my aim is to access it’s intended meaning and historicity of it’s content, and the further I arrive the more vindicated are beliefs I profess. My apologies for making the reply over-lengthy, but issues raised are such that deserve deeper elaboration. Do pardon me if some of my words seemed discourteous; for my aim was never to attack anyone’s faith, it’s just that debates of this nature more often than not lead to overstatement and as such harsh words are oft-uttered, and for that reason I dislike indulging argumentation that have so frequently been detrimental to Christian-Muslim relations and I do hope that our’s for a change will

be constructive in realization of the fact that no matter what are differences might be; one common link will always (God-willing) keep us firmly bonded and that is: our mutual faith, reverence, and love for Christ Jesus[p]. Thank you for reading patiently, Shalom!

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